AZ: Streetcar Nearing Final Testing Before July 25 Launch

June 02--It's been a long road for Tucson's modern streetcar, but transportation officials can probably see the light at the end of the tracks.

The last Sun Link vehicle arrived more than a week ago and will undergo the same equipment and system testing as the previous cars, including a high-speed test Wednesday on University Boulevard to check the braking systems.

Streetcar officials will gather information from the tests before taking the car through a "burn-in" process, where it will have to travel about 248 miles up and down the tracks, without any major issues.

Then it will have to run another 62 miles without any issues at all, said Sun Link Operations Manager Cleve Cleveland.

After that process is completed, the vehicle will eventually join the other streetcars as workers look to fix any other bugs before service launches July 25.

Streetcar operators are also running the vehicles constantly to see if the cars maintain a 10-minute schedule like officials hope, Cleveland said.

"We are trying to confirm we can indeed make the 10-minute headway," he said.

In addition, 11 of the 17 streetcar operators are fully certified while the rest are in the final phase of their training.

And if anyone has walked past one of the streetcar stops lately, they might notice the vending machines that will dispense tickets to future riders, which were all installed May 13, he said.

There are only a few other major tests left along the route, including testing communication systems, traffic signals, especially at Fifth Avenue and East Broadway, as well as moving signage.

There will likely be more questions, answers and quirks to fix once service starts late next month.

But, until then, the preparation continues.

road recovery work

Work crews will continue sealcoating streets this week, as part of the city of Tucson's Road Recovery bond program.

Crews will work in the following areas within the next few days:

--East Glenn Street between North Swan and Craycroft roads, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and Tuesday.

--East Broadway from Euclid to Park avenues; North Church Avenue between West Pennington and Congress streets; and West Broadway at the Church Avenue intersection. All of this work will take place from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.

--East Broadway between Williams Boulevard and North Stewart Avenue; and the intersections of Broadway and Country Club Road, and Broadway and Alvernon Way.

Travel lane restrictions will be in place, but at least one lane of travel will be maintained in both directions during the work.

Motorists can expect delays.

Copyright 2014 - The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson

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